I never learned anything by talking—Only by Asking Questions. —Skip Prichard
Writers, one of the fastest ways to increase your readership is by asking great questions. Questions stop our minds and allow us to slow down, think, and discover the answers and add them to your writing. What will adding a few questions do for your writing? If this is a standing practice for you, then you know the answer.
If this is a first that you have heard of it, then read on. Writers, if you'd like to succeed at learning how to ask the right questions, here are six secrets for doing just that! You may find a pattern throughout the article as well. Enjoy the read and question on!
Secret #1: Questions Create Whole Brain Stimulation
When we're asked questions our whole brain is stimulated and serotonin is released. Questions make our brains search for the answers because it releases serotonin and this causes the brain to relax. Serotonin makes it possible for our brains to be able to find answers and develop solutions.
Neil Cooper, a fellow blogger says,
“Questions hijack our thoughts and our unconscious mind goes to work.”
Before we know it, someone’s question has conjured new thoughts and ideas. With these ideas the brain is set to respond and then there is a rush of dopamine. Look at all that stimulus for the brain. Just by asking questions. Writers, what do questions have to do with you? Let’s jump into secret number two.
Secret #2: Increase your Intrigue.
Telling everything in our writing is boring. Tell, tell, tell equals boredom. It is also insulting to the reader. “Hey, readers! Here are the answers. Here are the facts, and now you don’t’ have to think.” Is that how you are going to structure your writing? I hope not. You are not evoking any part of thinking. What makes a great mystery? Intrigue and the wrestle of trying to discover “who done it.”
Readers will get bored and get tired easily without the intrigue stimulation. Think about one of the most read books on the planet, The Bible. It is filled with passages of self examination questions, stories of challenge and intrigue; and by reading it your heart can be changed. Wow—all from the power of questions. The secret to spicing up the writing is by asking questions and leaving a few things unanswered in order for intrigue to motivate the reader to learn more. How will you increase your intrigue with your writing?
Secret #3: Open-ended Create Thinking
Questions that help writers connect to their readers are open-ended—those what and how questions. At times the question of why is thrown in there as well. If you are interviewing someone here are a few examples of questions that can make the impact.
1) What’s changed since we last talked? 2) How do you measure your growth? 3) What issue is important to you? 3) What are your thoughts on this topic? 4) What obstacles did you overcome, 5) As you age, what motivates you? These questions become the stimulation that helps to increase their impact, income, and influence. What is one of your favorite open-ended questions to ask?
Secret #4: Who Will You Interview?
Interviews help show you how to weave the questions into Nonfiction as well as into Fiction. In my nonfiction writing, if I have a story that will support a key point I am trying to emphasize, I will sometimes use an interview model on the person to gain a better understanding and perspective to that the impact of the story can be felt.
For Fiction I love to “interview the characters” that are a part of the story to find out what they are really like before I write those responses into certain situations. This really gives the character depth. The benefit is that you now know more about the fictional character that your mind has conjured up. The bonus, you have written dialogue for the character. You will start to hear their voice more clearly, again, because they were answering questions you are asking them. What questions will you ask your characters?
Secret #5: How do I weave questions in blogs/articles?
This secret comes next because we need to stimulate the reader to also find the motivation to want to keep reading until the questions are answered. If we are in the habit of teaching to our readership, then we are just telling them everything they need to know and we are not challenging them to discover the answers on their own.
Adding questions at the end of paragraphs allows to time to stop, reflect, and make a few notes in the margin. Dialogue is another great place for questions. Do you use dialogue or just running narratives in your books? Ask your self why you do that? Is there a way to convey a stronger message with questions? Ask yourself this, why do you read the blogs that you do? What article impacted you the most and why was that?
Secret #6: Create a List of Questions Before, During, and After You Write.
When writing anything, have a list of questions to help you stimulate your writing response. WH questions especially the what, how, and sometimes the why are the most crucial part. The “open-ended” questions hold real power, and questions that reveal the depth of your characters are powerful as well.
Questions are particularly important to sharpen your skills as a writer. These questions are exercises that strengthen your writing and make the difference between a few readers on your blog and hundreds. The bonus is if they, your readers, felt really stimulated, and their responses and comments will show you.
Writers, can you remember is the quote for this article? I never learned anything by talking—Only by asking questions. Did that headline make you stop and think, “I wonder what that means?” Now that you know what it means, do you buy into the idea? Overall, when writers ask questions, knowledge comes.
When you as writers use the six secrets that were just revealed, you will really increase your skill as a writer because questions hold the key to powerful writing for you who want to increase your readership. Don't let this article be the end of your journey, but rather the beginning of your quest for more knowledge, deeper questions resulting in connected readership.
What will be your first questions?